Saturday, October 30, 2010

Soft power--anime

Dose Japanese anime consider soft power? In my opinion it is, for those people who love if, and it isn't for those people who hate it. But it dose have a huge impact on the opinion and attitude towards Japan. When a country's education is emphasizing the bad image of Japan, the war period, the people of that country definitely don't hold a good opinion towards Japan. Anime is a door that when you open the door people start to get to know a little about Japanese culture. People realize that this country is not just about the war in the past. This country is actually very favorable. Of course Japanese culture is far more than just anime. But partly because of anime, people start to become interested in Japanese culture and this country.

Friday, October 29, 2010

It's on: Google v. the nation-state

While reading the article on Google earth by Kumar, I was shocked that one technology could be so influential in terms of national security of sovereign states. The controversy with Google Earth was the availability of satellite images of locations such as a president's house or a government building that were deemed as compromising national security. To complicate matters for many nation-states, Google is not a state, and therefore can not be dealt with in a traditional diplomatic way. Also, since Google is not a state but a business, it cannot identify with the need for security around certain locations or information that might be a threat to the public good.

The situation with Google Earth and India in particular was extremely interesting to me. The Indian government seemed like a fish out of water, completely at a loss of how to get Google to do anything they wanted. As for Google, they didn't need to compromise, it was no matter of diplomatic relations for them. They were a business, and they had an agenda. The Google spokesperson again reiterated their position that the information provided by these satellites was in the public interest and the information could also be obtained elsewhere, if not from Google Earth.

What also surprised me in this article was the silence of the American government. It seemed as if the American government had no objection to any images of American government buildings. But if they had, what legal action could they take against Google, an American company? This issue of new media challenging the sovereignty of nation-states will not go away as more and more global technologies come to exist.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Rally to Restore Sanity and Noopolitik

The Rally to Restore Sanity, hosted by John Stewart and Steven Colbert, is Saturday, October 30th, two days from the writing of this entry. One of the major tag-lines for the event is that its "The Rally for People who are too busy to go to Rallies." It's intended to be a fun, communal experience that will bring together citizens who are too busy or too apathetic to go to large political rallies. In these divisive political times, it's something that should be getting far more press than it has (and it's been getting a decent amount of press to begin with).

If Noopolitik is the study of network nodes, shared interests, soft power, and the collective mind, then this rally is an embodiment of that, despite its status as a "for entertainment" event first. The rally was, of course, originally advertised on the Daily Show and Colbert Report, but it spread immediately and exponentially through Facebook, Twitter, email, web ads, a variety of television ads, and word of mouth. People who have never met before are coordinating carpools and meet-ups, all out of a feeling of shared interest. While the rally is likely to be overwhelmingly attended by American Citizens (and it is framed for Americans with Voting Fatigue), there are certainly no admission fees or attendance restrictions that would prevent foreigners from attending if they too were swept up in the spirit.

There is no traditional nationalist impulse behind the rally's popularity. Instead, it's a general response to the traditional political system, which is viewed with skepticism and apathy. The Rally to Restore Sanity is a nationally recognized unifying event that will bolster a certain view of what "Patriotism" and "America" really are, and it will do this without Political motivations, government involvement or organization, or divisive politics. Stewart and Colbert have managed to capture the hearts and minds of the nation by allowing the message to spread organically, rather than targeted marketing or viral ads. US policy makers could learn a lot from this rally's model for spreading its message; understanding the mind and methods of your audience works far better than overt declarations and diplomacy.

New Media, Noöpolitik, and Google Earth

Arquilla and Ronfelt discuss the emergence of noöpolitik and the soft power now held by NGOs and other non-state actors. As we discussed the Google Earth case, it seemed to me that Google also holds a type of soft power as well, by acting as a nation and influencing international politics, with a lack of control by the government. Certainly they are held under the laws and regulations of the US government, but as we saw in the case of India, they have no real responsibility to change their program just because someone doesn’t like it. They are much more concerned about profit and answering to their shareholders, and in fact, have established a type of power through their actions.

On a related note, I did a quick search for Google Earth on Google News, and was interested to see that China has released its own version of the mapping service. (You can read the article here). This goes along well with our group report, which we will discuss in class on November 2, as much of my research focused on China continuing to exercise its state sovereignty while still participating in the global flow of ideas. Even with this new program we can see how China’s behavior still reflects what Arquilla and Ronfelt define as realpolitik, or power leveraged for the state. For example, many of their maps cannot be viewed at high resolution due to state secrecy. But these influences culture and also suggest the spread of China’s soft power. This subtle control of information and media has also become an influence on international politics. It will be interesting to see how a new strategy of control will develop so states can retain their power as a state over emerging technologies, or if high-tech firms such as Google will continue to challenge information sovereignty.

Terrorism and the noosphere

David Ronfeldt and John Arquilla, in their futuristic article The Promise of Noopolitik, discusses the growth of three information-based realms: cyberspace, the infosphere, and the noosphere. Cyberspace is the world of the Internet; the infosphere which comprises the cyberspace in addition to the 'traditional' media like radio, television and newspapers etc.; and noosphere that encompasses both cyberspace and infosphere and is called the 'realm of mind.' As one realm grows, so should the others.
The noosphere presents information in terms of an expanding realm where the emphasis is on the ideational and organizational dimensions, without ignoring the technological one. Therefore, it makes it imperative to pay attention to the role of ideas and values that come into play in noosphere. With this new idea the contents of this sphere become more important than the medium itself.
It asks for a shift from realpolitik, which deals in hard power like technology, to this new politik that deals in ideas and is open not only to nation-states but non-state actors like Al-Qaida too. After 9/11 the battle for ideas is being fought in the noosphere and it is going to determine shape diplomacy and politics across the world. The noopolitik means that besides fighting terrorism on the war-front, it has to be confronted on the level of ideas too for which dynamics of diplomacy has to be changed.
Terrorist organizations like the Al-Qaida has also access to this new sphere of information which offers a new challenge. Terrorists respond to policies of nation-states by terrorism and putting across their 'ideology' in this new sphere. The most recent example is Osama Bin Landen's audio message which was aired by Al-Jazeera TV to own the abduction of French nationals in Niger in retaliation for France's 'anti-Muslims' policies.
So, the terrorists are making use of this noosphere, why should not the nation-states and global civil society?

Monday, October 25, 2010


In the article called Google Earth and the Nation State, Sangeet Kumar says that Google represent a new modality of power, progressively making inroads into the muted Westphalian nation-state system but still the power is linked “to a nation from its physical location and the materiality of the medium.” Then, after speaking about the network power and his importance, Kumar says that is cautious about “premature predictions about the imminent demise of the nation-state”.

Beyond the discussion if with globalization the nation state will diminish his capacities or will disappear it important to realize that in the international arena there are more actors like Google, an globalized new public sphere and public opinion, which play a role at the local level but articulated itself at the international level too. Then, the challenge for the nation-states I not just about relating with actors like Google but with actors like public sphere and public opinion too, locally present but at the same time, in a given issues, with presence and relevance in the international arena.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

the chicken or the egg

Castells [1996] have posited the emergence of a ‘network society’. This is caused by globalization and the development of technology. Or the development of technology emerged network society and globalization? Arsenault wrote "the presence of ubiquitous networking technology, the consideration of networks as social constructs also raises the question of the chicken or the egg." In my opinion, people study, develop something and do research to fulfill their needs. These technologies were invented because we have the needs to expand our network and to make it easier to communicate with one another. On the other hand, the expansion of our network and the desire to make it more efficient make us to improve the technologies. They are strongly connected and reinforce each other.

WikiLeaks comes up with more 'leaks'

WikiLeaks has come up with more shocking revelations: this time about the war in Iraq. Earlier it had leaked classified military documents about the war in Afghanistan. The whistle-blowing had generated a good deal of debate but things settled down within weeks. But the role of media in stoking the flames of war or opposing war has yet to be debated.
The mainstream media in the United States has always been accused of working in collusion with the establishment in the interest of military-industrial complex. Militaries across the world thrive on war, while industries see a boom in their production when wars are fought irrespective of the human cost. Media by its very nature had been--and still is--a thorn in the side of war-mongers.
Since democracies have to first sell a policy, be it war or more taxes, to the public before taking a final decision, media has always mattered--both for the common people and those at the helm of affairs.
To control the public opinion, it is necessary to control the mass media. But how can it occur in a democracy? Without a free press, democracy is meaningless. Therefore, the only way-out is to make media an ally of the military-industrial complex. Cross-media ownership and the emergence of conglomerates solved the problem: media became part of the industry and the audience became passive consumers. The watchdog became the lapdog. A nexus between the three, military, industry and media, emerged whose interests overlap on several levels. Their only adversary is a vigilant and informed citizenry who now are narcotized by a surfeit of entertainment. War has become a sports and sports, a war courtesy the mass media.
That is the reason that the mainstream media in the U.S. always 'break' the news when the damage had already been done. The New York Times 'built' a case for attack on Iraq in 2003 by 'breaking' news about Saddam's nuclear designs and his close ties to Al-Qaida. Then Foreign Secretary, Colin Powel, went to the U.N. Security Council for sanctioning war against Iraq. He had built the case on the bases of media reports, which, after Iraq was bombed, defeated and occupied, were conveniently denied. But nobody asked about the repercussions of first giving half truths--or total lies--and then revealing the truth.
WikiLeaks are nothing but false hopes of having a free media.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Do you use Verizon, AT&T or ANT?

We seem to constantly be bombarded with commercials and ads for cell phone services like AT&T and Verizon that compete in their promise to provide the best network. Living in this world of new technology, its understandable that the first thing that comes to mind when someone says network is "computers, verizon, or Eaglenet." However, as we discussed in class, IT language is just one way of speaking about networks.

Networks, in the social sense, are studied to understand communication flows in terms of relationships. As we saw in the Amelia Arsenault article, networks can be formal and informal, and can exist between both organizations/businesses and people. Arsenault describes the three theories of networks as being Actor Network Theory (ANT), The Network Society, and Network Analysis. These theories do not disregard the technological network by any means, but have different interpretations of how technology interacts with social networks.

The interesting aspect of ANT is that it does not separate the individual from the technology he/she uses. This means that a person functions with their computer, for example, to influence the network. This theory therefore seems to attribute everything to a network, as any tool one uses, albeit technology, is significant.

The network society acknowledges that we have always had a network society, but now networks are used to define meaning. Technology therefore, aides the communication of networks. I think this theory is practical and describes the technology age we live in today.

Furthermore, The article of Grewall's lecture argues that networks have been a driving force behind globalization. Networks can include and exclude people, and this can be see in the context of globalization. For example, Grewall uses the example of English as the standard in business. This has resulted in English as the "global language." Those that can speak English can participate in international business while arguably those who cannot are left out. While this may seem like common sense, its interesting to discuss if English will STAY the dominate language. Clearly networks propel this "standard" that has been made, but would it continue without the networks? Grewell mentions this in his article, when he talks about the fact that non-English speakers now teach English to other non-English speakers. In theory, this pattern could continue without networks requiring English to be spoken. Interesting food for thought.

Extrinsic or Instrinsic Benefits? Chinese Language policy.

I'm working off of this article today, so take a quick look.

Last class, we discussed David Grewal's answers on Network Power. I'd like to put his example that languages are learned because of extrinsic value to the test. Recently, China backpedaled on a piece of legislation that would mandate that Mandarin Chinese would be the official and sole language of instruction throughout all Chinese universities. The legislation was retracted due to a great outcry from Tibetan students.

The students' main concern was their self-proclaimed right to Freedom of Language. These protests are also coming on the heels of a Bilingual Education program that has been in effect in minority regions in China for years now. Chinese officials are clearly sensitive to public sentiment, and certainly do not want to risk widespread protests or civil disobedience, or else they would not have stated that they would not  enact the Sole Language program in areas where "conditions are not ripe."

Grewal asserts that standards, which are of course important for network efficiency, are chosen for their extrinsic values rather than their intrinsic values. His major example of this is language, specifically how English has become the international language of choice for business because of the strength of the US economy and the reach of US businesses. This sort of reasoning could be applied to a smaller scale. Chinese would be an excellent language to study in any of the countries around China, and it would certainly make practical sense to gain a good grasp of the Chinese language to gain practical contacts in the local business world. But the Tibetan students are resistant to the Sole Language program. Does this mean that they are opposed to entering into the Chinese business network? Of course not.

They are resistant because they do not want to lose their cultural heritage along with their cultural language. This is really an act based upon the intrinsic value of standards, rather than their extrinsic value. People do not always do things based on personal gain, especially when cultural heritage is in question. Grewal's argument, while valid in a great deal of cases, can not be a catch-all rule, as he likes to frame it.

Just for thought, the United States is dealing with this exact problem as well, although "English Only" legislation has not made a great deal of headway in Congress.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

LOLcats and LoveLife

Before I get started, I just wanted to share this lolcat, since we devoted a portion our class discussion example to said meme.
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

This week’s session was a broad overview of the concept of networks, and the way they help us connect and form relationships. The first thing that comes to mind is the internet and social networks like Facebook and MySpace that connect people online. However, in many developing nations, there is less access to the internet and more to a mobile network. This technology allows people to be connected through calls and text messaging. In fact that is the idea behind many of the new initiatives in nations like South Africa. One such initiative is the MYMsta by LoveLife. It is a text messaging program that imitates social networking forums, but via cell phones. Teens are able to keeps a profile, connect to others and learn about sexual heath.

I think this is a great example of an informal network, made possible by LoveLife. Young people can get together in a virtual world, with today’s communications technologies. This truely embraces the idea of a network, both as the technology and as a concept. The two are definitely linked; it is possible that a smaller network of teens may be able to form a community without the text message program, but with it, it is much easier to engage in discussion and participate in the community. How we relate has been enabled by technology.

To learn more about LoveLife, visit

Monday, October 11, 2010

There are not spectators but active or passive actors

In the reading material for this week there are few very interesting articles that strengthen my hope expressed last week about the role of the internet and the contra-flows in opposition with the pessimistic view about global influence of a hegemonic media system without alternative perspectives that consider ‘others’ consumers.

In the article of Elihu Katz and Tamar Liebes there are well done comments about the role of viewers as decoders and as active readers. In the article of Koichi Iwabuchi called my attention the remarks about how the decentralizing forces of globalization produce a relative decline of American cultural power and open the way in favor of Brazil, Egypt, Hong Kong and Japan as centers of regional media and cultural centers. Besides, and considering the perspective of the consumer, Mark Deuze write about the consumer of media content becoming a producer and co-creator of content in the fields of journalism, games, marketing and advertising.

By the way, regarding with the comment in one of the articles (Katz, 376-377) about the lack of interest to study the point of view of the consumer, probably explains those simplistic statements that describe the readers, viewers or receivers as “passive consumers” because there is not a given reaction. Perhaps, the lack of reaction show lack of interest or disagreement with the content, or acceptance of the fact that there are not means to face a ‘battle’ on that issue or, even more, that the benefit/cost calculus advises the ‘consumer’ against any reaction about the perspective of the transmitter of the ‘news’. I personally think that in front of the media, the public sphere and the social change there are not spectators but active or passive actors.
Agustin Fornell

Saturday, October 9, 2010

the power of media

I think it is very true that “ Media products are different, not least because they are more than just consumer goods---in important respects they also ‘produce’ us.” We have to admit that we are at some level influenced by media. What we watch on TV, read on the Internet or listen on the radio effect out way of thinking and changes our point if view. It is so powerful that sometimes it can be dangerous. Through media government control their people. Showing one piece of bad news on TV in China about Japan have lead Chinese people to riots. Japanese schools and shops were destroyed. Some Japanese people were hurt. Big demonstrations against Japan could be seen on the streets. All of these couldn’t have happened without media. This is the power of media. Again back to the reading “ we do not just consume, we interact.”

Couch Potatoes vs Hope

Robert McChesney says in his article (212) “The Media System goes Global” reproduce the following paragraph of a Swedish journalist: “Unfortunately, the trends are very clear, moving in the wrong direction on virtually every score, and there is a desperate lack of public discussion of the long-term implications of current developments for democracy and accountability”.

That pessimistic approach could be more aggravated if we use the following explanation of Yuen Foong Khong in his book “Analogies at War” (13) about the limitations of human beings regarding their capacities to process of information. He says that “The psychology of analogical reasoning begins with the idea that human beings are creatures with limited cognitive capacities. As a result, a means by which the cope with the enormous amount of information they encounter is reliance on ‘knowledge structures’ such as analogies or schemas. These knowledge structures help them order, interpret, and simplify, in a word, to make sense of their environment. Matching each new instance with instances stored in memory is then a mayor was human beings comprehend their world”.

However, I really believe that the internet and the contra-flows (at the local and at the international level) of information described by Thussu, give us hope because that the individuals –if they assumed an active role- have the option of no being ‘passive consumers or couch potatoes.”

Friday, October 8, 2010

Piracy and Media...Is it Justified?

I remember the early days of Napster...when it was still legal that is (or should I say not illegal). Napster was almost an early form of itunes since it was the first place you could search and download a large quantity of music. But obviously those days didn't last too long, with the music industry catching on to the fact that they were losing a large profit. Now buying CD's seems archaic (who has a boom box anyway) and Itunes in the way to go. Selling individual songs for around $.99 on itunes is now the way to increase the chances that a consumer actually purchases the song. It's cheap, and its convenient.

But is piracy as criminal as it sounds? After reading Tristan Mattelart, I realized that once again, not all issues are black and white, good and bad, but have many shades of gray. Mattelart proposes that we set aside the "criminal" connotation of piracy, and look at the implications that piracy has had on the supply and development of media products in many countries. He says, "One of the main attractions of pirate video networks was that they offered, at reduced cost, easy access to the images of this transnational entertainment culture." With just a video recorder, people in the South and East could watch mainstream media.

The most significant aspect of the piracy of media in the East, to me, is the access to media deemed forbidden by the government. Mattelart says that the spread of video allowed people to ignore political control of the media, "Pirate video defied frontiers rendered porous by people the networks of the informal economy and in some contexts meant that people were no longer subject to the official monopolies on new and entertainment." His examples of Saudi Arabia and the Iranian revolution show the power of media that can be easily disseminated like video.

Mattelart mentions the case of China, where an increase in pirated American movies has decreased the profits of major Hollywood studios, but simultaneously created a demand for more Hollywood products. It seems, in a way, that the piracy acted as a form of marketing campaign, albeit an expensive one, with Hollywood studios now having a larger market in China.

After reading Mattelart and understanding the developmental implications of media access, I think we need to understand the issue of piracy in context. When reading this article, it seemed to me like piracy was a call for help in the South and East. A call to be included in the phenomenon of the globalization of media technologies.

Trivializing war!

War reporting has become sensationalized and trivialized through high-tech reporting and a video-game format making war a largely virtual and bloodless.
This is how Thussu (2003) sums up the role of high-tech reporting in an article by Simon Cottle and Mugdha Rai: Global 24/7 News Providers: Emissaries of Global Dominance or Global Public Sphere? Since the 1990 Gulf War almost all wars, in which the United States is one of the partners, electronic and digital media in combination with high-tech war weaponry have turned wars into video-games. A case in point is the spate of drone attacks that the CIA has unleashed on areas of Pakistan that border Afghanistan. Al-Qaida and the Taliban are presumed to have taken shelter there for staging attacks on NATO forces in Afghanistan.
The CIA uses pilot-less aircraft, which are commonly known as Drones, that are equipped with hell-fire missiles to target suspected people and their hideouts. These aircraft are remotely controlled and thus can be called human extensions. Since extensions dehumanize humans, the drones have masked the bloody face of the human casualty on the ground by terming the killing of scores of people for 'taking out' a single target as collateral damage.
The human loss is further dehumanized by the mass media by delivering 'thin' accounts of drone attacks without context, background or competing definitions and accounts. By subjecting such news stories to the dominant frame (that Cottle and Rai talks about) the mass media become accomplices in turning wars into video-games and human losses into collateral damage.
The following news item reported by AFP shows how a dominant frame is used for stories about killings, blood-lettings and material damage:

Drone attacks house in North Waziristan
A US drone has fired two missiles at a house in the Mir Ali area of Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan.

There are no reports of casualties as yet, but many are feared.

Earlier in the day Foreign Office said that the United States should change its policy on drone strikes inside Pakistan.

On Wednesday, two US missile strikes killed at least nine people in North Waziristan.

Drone attacks reached unprecedented levels this month. Since US President Barack Obama came into office, there have been more than 143 drone attacks, with about 58 strikes in 2009 (after January 20) and around 85 in 2010.

Drone attacks have stoked anti-American sentiment in the country with many saying they violate Pakistan’s sovereignty.--AFP

The role of the media should be to report every news as a complete story instead of an abstract and impersonal account. Just like a story is always grounded in a context with a human face, news items should also be an account of human sufferings in such situations instead of counting the the so-called success of the war machinery. Joseph Campbell has so aptly said that media has changed though into it. Human casualties are referred to in digits--and digits are always lifeless. For example, a common newspaper or even radio/TV headline normally says:

20 killed in drone attack

Such headlines give an impression that these 20 are not human beings. The victims are being dehumanized by turning them into mere figures. The use of modern technology in wars and the 24/7 transmissions of global TV are tools of human extensions that take their toll on human society.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lost Socks in the 24/7 News Cycle

Daya Thussu's article "Mapping Media Flow and Contra Flow," seeks to both summarize and analyze the current state of the global media flows. Thussu contends that the periphery of the world, including many developing regions, are now "talking back" through their own media production facilities, news networks, movie studios, and radio broadcasts. Al-Jazeera is one of the more famous examples of this movement, to be sure, and there are budding movie industries popping up in places like Nigeria (Nollywood). But how does this all stack up against the media giants of the world: the USA, Britain, and India?

Well, the answer is pretty much in the question. The Giants are still the Giants, despite an increased voice from smaller firms and media outlets. I certainly didn't know about Nollywood until it was brought up in class this last Tuesday. One of the primary reasons of this is simply that these smaller voices simply get lost in the wash. Thussu and many other authors have done a line by line analysis of media exports and imports for several countries, and found that for a large number of them, US media vastly outnumbers national media in the marketplace. Of course, this US media is often modified or glocalized so that it can better suit the country that it is airing in. In a country with very little national media production, it could be difficult indeed to find a time slot on television or the radio, when foreign owned programs have already bought up the best airtime. The voices from the periphery are not always heard in this environment where we have at the same time incredible diversity in individual channels and programs, yet relatively few suppliers (McChesney)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

War of the Words

Do people play a passive or active role as consumers of media? While I believe it is possible that Americans are apathetic and cynical in regards their activity within the public sphere, there are others who are using media content to their own persuasive advantage. First we have the “dark and gloomy” forecast from McChesney “The global media system plays a much more explicit role in generating a passive, depoliticized populace that prefers personal consumption to social understanding and activity, a mass much more likely to take orders than make waves” (McChesney 209). This author argues that media today is more “escapist entertainment” to an alternate reality than promoting any political or social agenda. And in their consolidation, Western media giants have hindered our range of viewing options. Additionally, we should be concerned with not only who is producing the media, but what content they broadcast. According to Cottle and Rai, how the news channels frame events can shape our view as an informed citizen.

I’d like to offer an extreme example of how people react to media broadcasts: the current Taliban propaganda in Afghanistan, promising a better future for all Afganis, and specifically women. We may not be paying attention to world news, but someone out there certainly is: in response to the According to US intelligence, the new attitude towards women is “an attempt to mitigate the bad publicity from a recent Time magazine cover story containing a haunting photo and an article featuring a woman whose face was reportedly mauled by Taliban members. ‘That really stuck it to them,’ he said. ‘Now they're softening their tone regarding women’." The Taliban is using the media to reach people who have no other access to news content, bringing radio and print newspapers to rural areas to try and win people over that their rule would be better than the current government. Knowing that people are reacting to the propaganda campaign from the Taliban was actually effective is certainly an example of active engagement in response to the media, although US forces are working their hardest to counter these claims. In any case, this is a prime case study in the idea that when you have only one main point of view being broadcast, you’re probably going to listen.

Find even more information from Time magazine, or read the entire October 1 Washington Post article here.

Friday, October 1, 2010

celebrities and globalization

It is very true that globalization exists everywhere in our daily life and it is hard to imagine the world without it. It is like Hollywood movie. The first day you saw it is the sates and the second day you discover pirate DVDs in China. This is also globalization in my opinion. Celebrities those are famous in the states are also famous over the world. This is also due to globalization. It has a huge impact in our life. I agree with what the professor said, without globalization we can not even find a job. People do not need us to study international communication, cause there will be no international communication without globalization.

WSIS' Legacy

Marc Raboy's article on the WSIS highlighted a particularly interesting issue for me. The WSIS was intended to be a forum for the planning of the new rules of information governance. It was, in many respects, addressing the complaints and fears of the countries that signed onto NWICO years earlier: all aspects of IT infrstructures and technology, the internet, television and print media, as well as popular culture were examined and discussed within the overall subject of global governance. One of the most striking developments was the proposal for the inclusion of Civil Society in the overall structure of regulation and oversight that the summit members were crafting. What happened, however, was that no consensus on the role of Civil Society, or how they would be allowed into the debate itself. The consternation of the spurned non-governmental groups actually spawned a protest outside the summit hall. After the initial tension, protests, and debate, the Civil Society Declaration was signed in 2003, outlining the methods by which non-governmental actors can influence foreign policy, information flows, and international relations.

So what is the real legacy of WSIS? It is certainly not universal, and it is certainly not perfect, to be sure. There is no catch-all solution to the question "who controls the media?" As we discussed in class, true cosmopolitan globalization has not occurred worldwide, nor likely anywhere in the world. As such, every nation-state has its own governmental regulations, its own internal media legislation and market that determines what and how much information will be transmitted outside of its hard borders. Some countries, like North Korea, Burma, and China employ isolationist networks and filtering to various degrees, all of which are directed by the government. Other countries like the United States have a very egalitarian, liberal view of media boundaries, with a plethora of privatized companies that dominate the international media and information trade.

The WSIS was a major step towards coordinating the laws and regulations of global media governance, but it, and any similar summits that follow, will be hard-pressed to find a universal solution to this problem. It is perhaps impossible to completely dispense with national identities, and the protective culture quotas or filtering systems that might spring from them (or from political corruption). On the other hand, there might always be a need for some sort of impartial oversight in the event of a purely privatized media industry.

In any event, the field of International Communications is one of the youngest in the overall field; there's still plenty of time for improvement of the theory.